Volunteers help stop future fires

RIO HONDO — Public Safety Director William Bilokury and the Rio Hondo and Los Fresnos fire departments saved a home from burring to the ground recently because of a smoke detector.

Bilokury said if it was not for the detector, they may not have reached the home in time to put out the blaze.

“Having the Red Cross come in and hand out smoke detectors saves lives and property,” Bilokury said. “It’s a good thing.”

Bilokury is in charge of both the fire and police departments for the city of Rio Hondo.

Recently, the Local Red Cross chapter went door-to-door through town and installed 76 alarms in 45 homes in Rio Hondo.

The Red Cross volunteers canvassed neighborhoods, walking around to see if residents wanted or needed smoke alarms installed.

And on the following morning, they installed free smoke detectors for the residents of homes who said yes.

SpawGlass paid to have smoke alarms installed in the homes.

It was a free service to residents.

“SpawGlass is excited to help support the American Red Cross and the city of Rio Hondo,” said Eric Kennedy, SpawGlass South Texas Division president. “SpawGlass is a community contractor, and this is our home. We live, work and play here. It is important for us to give back and help make our community safe.”

Red Cross officials said the Rio Hondo Independent School District was helpful in supplying space to meet throughout the day.

The effort in Rio Hondo was part of the American Red Cross’s Fire Preparedness Campaign.

It is geared toward reducing death and injury by fire and educating the community about the importance of smoke detectors for the home.

The program helps low-income families by supplying and installing the smoke detectors.

“The main goal is to make homes much safer,” said Lena Romero, American Red Cross-Harlingen disaster program manager.

She said old frame homes with no smoke detectors are like tinder waiting to be lit.

“We are interested in helping any community that is interested in receiving home smoke detectors,” Romero said.